Daily Record


Felix haunts Magpies and bursts their Euro bubble

- SiMoN BiRD aT ST JaMeS’ PaRK

FELIX NMECHA showed Newcastle what they could have bought as he gave them a Champions League reality check.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder – a Toon target in the summer – netted the only goal as German aces Dortmund blew Group F wide open.

Eddie Howe’s men turned in a better second-half display and pushed for the equaliser, with Callum Wilson missing a golden chance, then the striker and Anthony Gordon both hit the bar late on.

But they now face a nervejangl­ing last three games including trips to Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain next.

Boss Howe admits his side have to learn from this defeat – and quick.

He said: “Tactically they were good and gave us problems in central areas. The intention was there but we’re up against elite teams. You make half a mistake and get punished.

“We grew into the game in the second half with the chances we created and the woodwork denied us.

“Now we have to do it the hard way in the group.

“It is going to be difficult but we’re in the Champions League. Nothing comes easy.

“Now we need to dust ourselves down and be ready for next week.

“When you play a team so quickly again we need to work out how we adjust and see if we can go there and get a result.”

Injuries are also starting to hit with Alexander Isak and Jacob Murphy added to the crock list.

Newcastle were left licking their wounds just before half-time when Nmecha scored – the first goal the Magpies have conceded in the group and the first that Dortmund have scored.

Nico Schlotterb­eck pulled back a clever ball from the left and Nmecha arrived late in the box to finish into the top corner of Nick Pope’s net.

Dortmund had won their last five league games but were recovering from a slow start in Europe.

Within a minute the danger was evident as Donyell Malen raced clear on goal only for Pope to save with his feet.

Then, after 10 minutes, Pope had to produce a stunning double save, blocking Malen’s shot then bouncing back up to deny Niclas Fullkrug.

It was a furious start from the Germans but Newcastle responded by sending Isak on the break and the Swedish striker played Gordon in to set up Newcastle’s best chance of the first half.

But keeper Gregor Kobel saved his point-blank shot.

Isak limped off soon after with Wilson on. In contrast to the lethargic PSG, who were beaten 4-1 here, Dortmund were sharp and set tactical problems with their adventure and commitment to attack.

Malen and Marco Reus were slick but Newcastle didn’t sacrifice their own intent, although they lacked a cutting edge.

They left gaps at the back and the Germans were lightning quick on the break.

Keeper Kobel was in top form and pulled off another great save from Wilson after the break when the England striker should have converted Gordon’s cross.

And even when he was beaten late on, Wilson’s header and Gordon’s shot hit the bar.

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 ?? ?? HiT aND MiSS Dortmund hero Nmecha hails his goal while Wilson is denied an equaliser, inset
HiT aND MiSS Dortmund hero Nmecha hails his goal while Wilson is denied an equaliser, inset

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